Archive for June, 2014

BIAB#8 – Patersbier


Inspired by some of the recent posts on Basic Brewing video, I decided that instead of making a simple malt extract starter for my vial of WLP500, I’d make a 5 litre batch of medium-gravity beer which will act as a starter for my next batch. A Belgian “singel” or “patersbier” seemed like a great candidate for this. A “singel” is style of table beer, typically brewed by Trappist monsteries for consumption by the monks. Though occasionally it is available for sale in cafés near the monasteries. I decided on an extremely simple grain bill of pilsner malt with a little wheat malt for head retention.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 8.20 l
Post Boil Volume: 5.20 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 l
Bottling Volume: 3.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.041 SG
Estimated Color: 7.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 15.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 55.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 55.0 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes


1.100 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (3.9 EBC), 91.7 %
0.100 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC, 8.3 %
5 g Saaz [4.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 13.2 IBUs
0.13 Items  Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
5 g Saaz [4.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min, 2.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg  Trappist Ale (White Labs #WLP500)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles Small Batch BIAB Mash
Total Grain Weight: 1.200 kg
Saccharification  Add 8.93 l of water at 74.4 C   68.0 C  60 min

21/06/2014 – Easy enough brew day, though admittedly it is a lot of work for 5 litres of beer.

05/07/2014 – Bottled with carb drops. Got 3 x 330ml bottles (Saison Dupont bottles!) and 4 x 750ml bottles. 2 carb drops in the the 750s and 1 drop in the 330s. Couldn’t avoid getting lots of the very fluffy yeast into the bottles.

17/07/2014 – Bit of Belgian yeast on the nose, but mostly just a big wallop of sulphur! No head retention to speak of. Taste is actually quite good!! Little bit cidery, but nice malt flavour and really good mouthfeel for the ABV. The sulphur should dissipate with time.

21/07/2014 – I really shouldn’t have opened another bottle of this so soon, but I did. The whiff of sulphur is still there, but underneath the eggy aroma is a really crisp, flavoursome beer with some nice fruit Belgian yeast notes. I’d even consider scaling up this recipe to a full size batch, with maybe a coriander addition (like the monks use in Chimay Doree) or a little extra complexity from some Vienna or Munich. I should google to see how long it will take for the sulphur to dissipate.

11/08/2014 – I’m on the second last bottle of this and the eggy aroma is still there, but it’s not very perceptible in the flavour. I do think it’s improved. i’ll have to chill the remaining bottle for an extended period to try to figure out the bottle-conditioning characteristics of this yeast strain. I’ve been thinking recently that the unpleasant aroma might be DMS caused by not chilling the wort quickly enough. Sulphur is the more likely culprit though.

AG#16 – Monkey Feet Pale Ale


The search continues for my “go-to” pale ale recipe and one that is worthy of the title “Monkey Feet”. For this attempt I want to use some of the lessons learned during the design of my Galway Hooker clone. Namely, a simple grain bill and restrained use of crystal malts to obtain a biscuity flavour rather than an overwhelming caramel flavour.

I’ve tried being restrained on hop additions in the past and it just doesn’t work for me. I just like hops, that’s the way it is. So I’m going to load this beer with mountains of Cascade and Mosaic, the latter being a variety I’ve never used before. Going to use massive flameout additions to give plenty of flavour and aroma. Will give the dry-hop a miss this time.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 14.1 EBC
Estimated IBU: 39.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


4.500 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.8 EBC), 89.1 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 5.9 %
0.250 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 5.0 %
7 g Columbus [15.90 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 16.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
50 g Mosaic [11.50 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 16.8 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.10 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 6.7 IBUs
50 g Mosaic [11.50 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
25 g Amarillo [10.10 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (fresh sachet)

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.050 kg
Mash In  Add 13.17 l of water at 75.7 C   68.9 C 45 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (4.84l, 12.95l) of 75.6 C water

14/06/2014 – Brewed. Had lots of problems try to separate the wort from the break material and hops. Even though I used hop bags during the brew. I suspect I might be using too much Irish moss, or adding it at the wrong time. Lately, I have been adding it at 15 mins instead of 10 mins. Might have something to do with it.

I really fecked up this beer because I got much more evaporation loss than usual. Lately I’ve been thinking that I’m not getting enough kettle caramelisation from the boil along with a lack of malt character. So today I tried boiling harder – cycling my second element on and off. By doing so, I only got 15 litres into the fermenter.

24/06/2014 – Even though the fermentation has long died off, the smell from the FV is amazing – huge fruity hop aroma. Mosaic seems to be doing the trick. Might end up being a fantastic pairing with Amarillo.

27/06/2014 – Bottled with 93g of glucose (because I was only bottling about 15 litres). Got 27 bottles from the batch. Great aroma. Little light on malt flavour though?

10/07/2014 – Wasn’t really expecting this to taste great at this early stage, but it’s pretty nice. Nice tropical fruit flavours from the hops. The sweetness is a bit cloying, but I think this would age out slightly if left to cold-condition for a bit. Need to leave a bottle in the fridge for a few days.

21/07/2014 – Pretty pleased with this given the less than ideal fermentation temperatures. Great hop flavours and aroma but it could do with being a bit more bitter and the malt flavours are a little cloying. I might consider leaving the specialty malts as they ate, but reducing the base malt to give a lower ABV.

TC#4 – Teabag Turbo Cider


4 tbsp of honey, dissolved in 300ml of hot apple juice. Topped up to 4.5 litres in the Demi John and pitched half a sachet of Young’s cider yeast.

29/10/2014 – Amazing what a little age does to the old turbo ciders. The acidic bite in this has dropped out a lot. Still sharp and dry taste there, but very pleasant to drink. Wish I had more of it to be honest. I could see myself doing a full-size batch of this next year to have on keg in time for the summer. Though I might revert to my original turbo cider which included raisins as well as steeped tea bags.

TC#3 – Plain Turbo Cider


4.5 litres of clear Lidl apple juice simply sloshed into the Demi-John and aerated. Pitched about half a sachet of Young’s cider yeast. No fuss.

28/06/2014 – Bottled with 1 carb drop per 500ml bottle. Got 7 bottles from the batch. Sample tastes really sour.

BIAB#7 – Trade Winds Imperial Stout


This recipe has been on the cards for a long time now. It’s sort of influenced by the Brewdog Abstrakt range – high gravity beers fermented or aged with wacky ingredients. It’s got a pirate/seafaring feel to it – muscovado sugar, oak chips, star anise, so I decided to give it a name that is worthy. This will hopefully be a big stout with big flavours.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 7.20 l
Post Boil Volume: 5.20 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 l
Bottling Volume: 3.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.086 SG
Estimated Color: 109.2 EBC
Estimated IBU: 65.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 55.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 55.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


1.900 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 77.4 %
0.130 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 5.3 %
0.130 kg Roasted Barley (591.0 EBC), 5.3 %
0.080 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 3.3 %
0.080 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (147.8 EBC), 3.3 %
0.055 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 2.2 %
10 g Magnum [10.40 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 65.2 IBUs
0.13 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
0.080 kg Brown Sugar, Dark [Boil for 15 min], 3.3 %
1.00 Items Anise, Star (Boil 10.0 mins)
0.5 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)
15.00 g Oak Chips (Secondary 7.0 days)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles Small Batch BIAB Mash
Total Grain Weight: 2.455 kg
Saccharification  Add 8.65 l of water at 77.2 C           68.0 C        60 min

01/06/2014 Brew Day – Easy peasy brew day. Smells great, serious roasty aromas.

19/06/2014 – Racked from the bucket to a demi-john and added 15g of oak chips. I want this to have a big oak flavour. I got lazy though, and didn’t sanitise the oak chips. In a beer as strong as this, I’m sure it will be okay. And as I have only 5 litres, I doubt it will last long enough to develop any off-flavours.

27/06/2014 – Bottled using carb drops. Got 8 bottles. Pretty oaky. Don’t get much anise flavour though it might develop over time. Now the long wait.

23/09/2014 – Terrific body, flavour and head retention. The only problem is that the intense oak flavour becomes overwhelming by the time you get to the end of the 500ml glass. It’s an odd beer – enjoyable yet overwhelming. Having said that, the stout flavour stands up well to the oak with plenty of roastiness and lots of balancing caramel. Bit of astringency though, which I’m not too happy with. Can’t tell whether this is due to the oak chips or the roasted grains.

02/11/2014 – This is extremely disappointing. It’s under-carbonated, but not overly so. The oaking is a little aggressive too, but not so much that it’s undrinkable. The main problem is that the level of astringency makes the beer difficult to drink. I’ve done beers with similar levels of roasted malt as this, but without the astringency. So it’s obviously something in the mash process that is dragging the astringency out of the grain. (EDIT: just done some googling, and there’s a lot of stories about the ability of oak chips to contribute astringent flavours in beer. It seems the level of oak was just too much, though I wouldn#t discount the fact that I didn’t sanitise the oak chips in a steamer this time. I’m guessing the action of the steaming draws out some of the more unpleasant and harsh flavours from the oak chips.

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